Dr. Pete Willemsen

Pete Willemsen [image]

Professional title

Professor & Director of Graduate Studies



I run the Simulation and Interaction in Virtual Environments (SIVE) Lab with a research group composed of Master's level graduate students, and many talented undergraduates. The SIVE Lab specializes in interactive simulations that use GPU-based resources, or benefit from interactive, immersive visualization capabilities.

My research efforts are highly interdisciplinary and are focused on the simulation of physical phenomena and interaction within virtual environments. The GEnUSiS group simulates the complex interactions between urban cities and the environmental aspects of pollution dispersion and energy use, while developing immersive and interactive decision support systems for communicating simulation results. In the another project, our group is developing a stereo-projection virtual environment at UMD that integrates with the University of Utah's TPAWT (TreadPort Active Wind Tunnel) to explore locomotion and haptic terrain rendering with a robotic shoe device.

Mobile Application Development

I encourage our computer science undergraduates to take on interdisciplinary projects across our campus. These scholarly efforts are all aimed at providing experiences to our students that strengthen their education.

Recently, computer science students, working with graphic design and German language students created the UMD German Grammar Guide, which is now available on Apple's App Store. Our efforts have resulted in forming the Mobile Language Learning Group (MLLG) to bring together computer science students, foreign language students, and graphic design students to develop applications for other languages (such as Russian or French) as well as study abroad experiences.

Undergraduates are also working in other areas including projects with faculty from exercise science.

If you're interested in joining these teams, please contact me!

Educational Outreach to Elementary Students

I believe in providing outreach to the community, but especially the elementary students in and around Duluth. My motivation is to teach younger kids about what computer scientists do and how we program computers to solve science problems. These skills are not being taught at the elementary level and in some cases, not even at the high school levels. As part of this outreach, I invite second and third grade elementary classes in Duluth to my lab. I, along with undergraduates from computer science have also taught about one hundred third graders how to program using Scratch. I also participate in organizing Lego robotics activities that are focused on programming and problem solving.